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a wedding through the eyes of the flower girl

My sister in law got married this weekend. It was a weekend filled with fun, late nights, and lots of pretties. Bycemaster, Jena and I were all part of the wedding party. To be quite honest the stress of having us all perfect for this wedding amidst all that is already happening in our life right now had me in more than one panic attack. I was having dreams of getting the baby call when we couldn’t leave to go get her (which my rational brain knew was a very small window, but tell that to my subconscious!)

But it’s done now and it all worked out! It happened, it was gorgeous, I survived, there was no baby call during the wedding weekend and I even gained a brother out of the deal. On the flip side now, it’s all good. We are having a day of rest over here. I’m trying really hard not to think of the prep still needed for birthdays and babies on the horizon. I NEED A DAY PEOPLE. JUST ONE DAY. (I’m really screaming at my own brain here, that is desperately trying to get me to sit down and start the planning, ONE DAY BRAIN).

Back to the wedding. I let my daughter woman my camera for the wedding. That was a first, I’ve never let the kids touch it. It was bought with an inheritance from my grandpa at a time when money was beyond tight and the likelihood of replacing it was slim to none. I’m not sure much has changed in that area, but she was being extra careful for once and I decided to let her go. 400+ pictures later and we’ve found a few gems. Jen and Jaron

I’m impressed with Jena. I know the bride is a little blurry, but I love this picture of the happy couple. I’m looking forward to watching them grow together.

a rose among thorns

Jena loved the flowers and I must agree. They came out beautiful. She took a lot of ‘artsy shots.’

sunflowerI wish I could take credit for some of these!Mom

I love this shot of my mom. So rare to catch a real smile on camera.

goofy papaShe got lots of my dad, 80% look like this. My mother wonders where Jena gets her goofy side. Wonder no more mom.
fun hairArtsy shot she snuck of my hair. Love the way the pink came out.

dancing with tired boyFinally convinced my little guy to dance with me at the end of the night. I think he mostly just wanted me to pick him up. The poor thing was so so tired. Also take a good look at the hair. I made it to the wedding without cutting it, but it’s about to be gone.
Anders dancingNot all the little people were dead on their feet though. Jaron’s little nephew (son of one of the awesome bridesmaids) was a dancing fiend. This kid was seriously adorable.
3togetherSpeaking of adorable children. She obviously did not take this one. I do wish sometimes for shots where they are all smiling and looking at the camera. But this is my real life and I love my real life. I can appreciate photos like this for what they are.

Jena selfie 2I also found a series of selfies. I mean what photo shot would be complete without them! (I really do need a sarcasm font)
Jena fleeing

Here she is in her actual role as flower girl. She’d just finished her petal throwing and was fleeing the scene of the crime. She did eventually make her way back up to the front to sit, after I bit of running around. You can also see all of the lovely bridesmaids. I only knew one of them before this wedding, but they were a great group. Even though most of us were strangers, everyone banded together to do what needed to be done. They were a great crew. It was a beautiful wedding. Many congratulations to the bride and groom!

update on Brooklyn

Thank you to everyone that was praying for Brooklyn’s birth mom this past week. She has made her decision, and it was not us. We found out yesterday, ironically, right as I was finishing painting the baby dresser. We will continue to apply for grants and get ready over here. Hope for a chance at a baby moon. All the while hoping that our plans and prep get disrupted sooner than we expect. As we’d much rather have the baby than the plans.

cureforanything

I have a life motto, if you will. The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.

My attempt at the sea today has failed, but the other two are readily available. I did not get as excited about this attempt, however, the disappointment has been worse. I know another family is happy. I know our baby will come. I know the perfect timing is what I want. I know all the things I’m supposed to know right now. I don’t feel any of them today, but I also know that will come.

In the meantime, I am very happy that my husband, who still occasionally drives me crazy, is at his best in the hard times. When I really need him, he far surpasses expectations. If anything I am grateful for another opportunity to see him in action.

baby news!

We have baby news!

Hopefully good (for us) baby news. We’ve submitted again for another special circumstance. Deadline is tonight, we think books will be shown this week. There is a chance we will know by next week one way or the other. I’m cautiously hopeful. We don’t know much, but birth mom would like her to keep her name Brooklyn.

So please pray for Brooklyn’s birth mom and family (if they’re involved, we don’t know) as she is looking through books this week. I’d like to ask you to pray that she picks us, but really just pray that she has supernatural wisdom and can see the real families through these books. It’s so hard to convey all of who you are without meeting a person.

In related news we also found out we’ve been awarded a grant! Some of that work is paying off! We were super excited to get that letter in the mail, even earlier than we expected! I’ve adjusted the fundly goal down to reflect the new need, really wish I could make it reflect what has actually been provided so far. We are just barely under 6,000 dollars already between fundly, grants, and personal checks received. We are so grateful for you all!

You can visit our fundly for updates or to give here!

5 things I’ve learned “in the waiting period”

This was originally intended to be a very different kind of post.

Under normal circumstances we don’t know if our profile is being viewed. It could have been shown 100 times already (not likely). We only find out if we’re picked. There are however, “special cases.” Sometimes they do not have the amount of books they’d like to show for a certain situation.  Sometimes you requested being asked first about certain circumstances. These we get emails about. There’s been more of these than I’d expected. However, we didn’t feel any of them were ones we should submit for until last week. Last week’s email felt almost too good to be true. A little girl due to be born soon (all we knew was before September for sure) circumstances something we were totally ok with.

I cannot begin to tell you how I excited I was. Just reading the email. Waiting around for hours for Bycemaster to get home. Then sending the email saying put us out there! Most of this process has seemed surreal. I know eventually there will be a baby. I know this. But there is so much waiting. In every step of the process. When you are waiting with no end in sight, it’s hard to believe the end is just around the corner. Even though it could be.

But for us it was not this corner. I’ve been obsessively checking our email for days. This morning I got an email saying we weren’t chosen. We did not tell the kids about submitting at all. We knew what has happened was a very real possibility. So it’s a quietly mournful morning over here. Upon reflection here a few things we’ve gleaned from this waiting process so far.

5 things I’ve learned in “the waiting period”

1) Some days waiting is easy.

You hear it’s hard. The waiting is so hard. It’s the hardest part. That’s all we’ve heard. But there are some days it is easy. Days go by and it’s not been agony. Then there are days like the past few where you know something is close, but you don’t even know when you will know anything. And then there’s todays. It’s hard.

2) You’re not as ready as you think you are. 

We’ve gotten so much stuff for Baby Girl Byce. We’ve washed and folded clothes, set up pack n plays, gotten car seats. Then OMG IT COULD BE TOMORROW! And you realize how unprepared you really are. We still need to set up a hospital plan for our current kids. I need to figure out what I’ll pack in our stay bags (what do you wear to something like this!?) I don’t have the Lact-Aid nursing system I’d already done research on, but never purchased. I haven’t even given any thoughts to what we want to give to the birth mother. So many more things.

3) Longer waits are better for grants.

We’ve only gotten 1 grant application all the way to submission. The rest are in various stages of not done yet. But even the 1 that is in would not have mattered for this baby. The current one was a minimum of 90 days past deadline to even find out. And grants only pay out before placement, if you even get any. After placement, you’re pretty much screwed. I have renewed motivation to get the rest of the applications in ASAP. Any takers on references? We’re gonna need some more.

4) Things don’t always turn out like you thought.

So this lesson has really been in process longer than just the waiting process. The whole adoption process from picking an agency to being in waiting has not been like I’d originally envisioned. But see I’ve been envisioning this since long before anything in my current life. I also never envisioned my current life. And my current life rocks. This process has morphed and changed so much from my preconceived notions. But there is peace it’s as it’s supposed to be. This is what it looks like for us, not me, us. That’s important and so much better.

5) Good people are gold.

Bleeding off the last point. Life is not meant to be lived in isolation. What dreams I may have are not meant for ME, just me, all about me. We are all connected and the dreams we have are also meant for the people our lives intertwine with. We are are all in this together. I could write a whole post about this one. From the gifts to support to prayers you are all so important. Having people super excited with you at even the chance of a placement is gold. Having not a single person say well don’t get your hopes up, is gold. Knowing there are so many of you praying for us in this journey, is gold. You all are gold.

I am sad and disappointed I’m not gonna lie. I’m also grateful I allowed myself to be excited that this could be it, it really could have been. Ups and downs are part of life. Someone who has been in waiting is super happy and excited this morning. This is a loss, but it is not a death. There’s a little balm in a loss that is someone else’s gain. Maybe next time it will be our gain.

home studies and head games

So yeah this adoption thing is rolling. Things are speeding up, I feel like I’ve added another part-time job lately. I have only read 1 fiction book this year, and for me, that’s huge. I had to cut myself off so I could get work done. We had our first home study visit this week, yay! It was the next day that I caved and allowed myself one actual good book, finished it last night and was back to work this morning. Made calls all morning and virtually no progress on the adoption. I got a lot of other bills and things paid and ran my head into a hundred dead ends on the adoption front. But things are still drawing to a close, I can actually see the end of our part in this process, I can taste it. 5 days till our second home study visit and then second week in February is the final visit. Assuming I can our homework packet done and wrap up the last to-dos from the home study visit in time, which I will, we will be making our profile book next month. That’s the last step for us. Once that’s done, we’re ‘in waiting’ and we sit around and wait for the call.

And try to find the rest of the money. The biggest chunk is due with the baby. We can’t officially apply for most grants until the home-study is complete, but I’ve started a few applications anyway. They are long, and crazy, and after all we’ve already done, I will eat them for breakfast. So there’s that outlet and then there’s magic and miracles. Not to say those two things are the same, just saying I’d be happy for either of them to come through. Then there’s fundraising, I hear people say things like fund me and kickstarter and normally I’d be all like yes another thing to learn and research about! (yes I know I’m a nerd) But right now I’m more like please someone just tell me which one is supposed to be good for this thing. Anybody? What will work for an adoption fundraiser? Just tell me. Please, please, pretty please.

So now that we are this close, I feel like I’m about to go into labor. I need to have everything ready! AND like I haven’t even gotten pregnant yet all at the same time. One minute I’m researching ways and equipment to re-lactate and the next I’m realizing I still haven’t shown Neil the list of potential names. Part of me wants to have everything prepared and the other part of me wonders how I’m going to handle it if I have EVERYTHING ready and the call still doesn’t come for months and months and months and months. I mean it is a real possibility, but so are the people we met at our training who didn’t even finish their profile book before they were matched or only waiting a few weeks or few months after being put into waiting. It also feels weird getting everything ready for a baby that could be a year or more away still, it makes me feel fake somehow. Like this is all a game of pretend and I’m not really an expecting mom because I’m not pregnant and I don’t know when. I really never realized what a head game this was all going to be.

and the road goes on

I feel like my head is about to explode.

We’ve spent the last two days immersed in the adoption world, we’ve talked to families that have adopted, mothers that have placed their children, case workers, other couples in the process, even a few children who were adopted. My tears were cried for things I’ve long felt for and for things I never even knew I could feel for. I somehow feel so full and so empty, all at the same time.

It was incredibly encouraging and heart wrenching to hear all the stories of the birth moms and the adoptive families. So much joy and so much sadness, right next to each other. It makes sense now, but I really never fully placed myself into the position of the birth mother. Of the options most have, placing their child in a loving stable home is an enormous sacrifice, for the mother. Choosing to have the child. To go through 9 months of aches, pains, nausea and social stigma in many cases. Then relinquishing your child to another home because you know you cannot provide for it. I cannot even imagine. I’m almost ashamed of how I viewed them before, in my ignorance of their heart. Then to hear the families who received these babies and the blessings they have been and the joy they have brought. To see them running around, smiling and getting into mischief, it was amazing. Hearing the highs and lows and everything in between really brought the whole thing home, it’s real. It’s finally happening, some days I still can hardly believe it. I also know that a lot surrounding adoption is controversial, especially where birth mothers are concerned. Again I really don’t want a debate. Honestly, right now I’d probably just cry and shut off the computer for good. I’m so emotionally spent right now I don’t think I could handle it.Too much heavy…

So….time to lighten it up..with a little paperwork! Such a light and fun topic! No one here is daunted and defeated by just a few pieces of paper, with a few hundred words and some blank lines. There’s nothing to be scared of! How do I explain the feelings that come over me when I think of it? Joy! Elation! So many fun phone calls and appointments to set up! I’m simply ecstatic! Dancing with joy! And guess what? Wait for it…

THERE’S MORE!

More papers with words and blank lines we didn’t even have yet! Also a CPR class!  Also articles and 4 books to read (well that may actually be unsarcastically filled with joy and elation (also did you know unsarcastically is not an actually word?(I also feel I should continue this parenthesis within a parenthesis trend with an additional parenthesis!)), especially by comparison!). Wow that was fun to read! And so grammatically correct I’m sure a few of you are in fits of joy!

But get this. Not only is there more fun papers, but they take WEEKS to process after we finish with them. Then we have WEEKS of interviews after that, and at least a MONTH of processing when those are done. Then a photo book to make, which should be fun and easily accomplished, especially since I have no experience even making a baby book for our children! It will be great! I’m sure I’ll finish in no time flat. It also gets to be reviewed and edited (few more weeks) and resubmitted and then and only then our fun will be over and we will be placed in waiting. And if we wait to long, we get to do a lot of it ALL OVER AGAIN!

Completely sincerely, the further down this road I get, the longer the road becomes.

hurry up and wait

Someone told us at the very beginning (like still trying to even find an agency beginning) that the adoption process was a lot of hurry up and wait. At the time I laughed, I could see it, but I really didn’t know. Now, only in the later beginning stages, I am beginning to understand what they mean. Today we were officially welcomed into the 4th of 7 steps that proceed getting that little baby in my arms…almost 3 weeks after we finished the 3rd step. I know 3 weeks doesn’t really seem like that long, but when you’ve been stressing over completing a giant packet of information asking for your life history as quickly as you can…well waiting almost 3 weeks to see if you’ve even been approved to move to the next step is FOREVER.

But we are now officialy on to the next set of…wait for it…paperwork! The joy! Seriously though, I do feel joy over the 30+ documents waiting in our adoption portal. I am aware this makes me seem crazy. Crazy I am, and I’m ok with that.

Now the money for this stage had already been provided when we refinanced our condo. We thought we were paying for the insurance and had set aside the money and discovered a month later it had been paid by the lender at closing, yay! We were super excited. It was almost exactly the amount we needed, and we’ve been looking for how God was going to provide. First provision, check.

So there sits the money while we hurry up and wait, and then last week happens. Our management company for said condo decided they were going to repair something on the condo that was the responsibility of the HOA, and then billed us for it. It was also almost the exact amount we had waiting in that account. I’ve always felt I had a bit of an optimistic bent to my realism, but when I saw that invoice the first thing I said was “well there goes the adoption money, we’re never getting that back.” Slap my mouth, I figured we figure it out, but I was not hopeful.

Then this morning we are accepted into the next stage, and the money is due. I woke up from my nap this afternoon to a text from Bycemaster asking what I thought of the emails from our management company. Honestly, I groaned and considered putting it off, I was still a bit groggy and didn’t want to fight the defeated feeling the whole situation was already giving me. I’m so glad I just did it. Our money is being refunded! The management company and the HOA both PLEASANTLY (big deal for someone who tenses over the littlest bit of dissension) worked together to rectify the situation. It was such an absolutely unbelievable resolution for me that I started crying. I really didn’t even consider that it would happen, and it’s done, like that.

And with that, we move on to the next stage 🙂

the journey begins

I feel there is so much to say on this post that a million could not possibly contain it all. So I’ve decided to brief, well brief for me, which admittedly is not brief, but briefer. So I’ve decided to briefer!

We are adopting! The open house is done, the initial application has been submitted and we are approved by the director to continue! It is a long journey and an expensive one (yikes!), but we are thrilled to be beginning it. We sat down and made our plan and are excited to see how God is going to fill in the gaps. If you’ll forgive me a little charismatic lingo here, we are starting one of the biggest faith journeys we’ve ever been on. It’s little scary and a lot exciting, and I for one am looking forward to sharing it all with everyone. I am so excited some day I feel I will literally burst 🙂

When we were first pregnant our midwifes told us, DO NOT WATCH A BABY STORY! There was no place for trauma, fear, extreme circumstances, and general horror stories if you were out for a peaceful pregnancy and birth. So with that philosophy in mind, we would LOVE to hear your adoption stories or those of your loved ones! Just please no horror stories (we know there out there, and we’ve chosen to do this anyway).

Hey lookie there, that might have actually qualified for real brief, maybe.

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